July 1st, 2008
04:14 PM ET
10 years ago

New CNN Poll: Obama, McCain in a statistical dead heat

 Obama and McCain are in a statistical dead heat.

Obama and McCain are in a statistical dead heat.

(CNN) - With the dust having finally settled after the prolonged Democratic presidential primary, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama locked in a statistical dead heat in the race for the White House.

With just over four months remaining until voters weigh in at the polls, the new survey out Tuesday indicates Obama holds a narrow 5-point advantage among registered voters nationwide over the Arizona senator, 50 percent to 45 percent. That represents little change from a similar poll one month ago, when the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee held a 46-43 percent edge over McCain.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes Tuesday's survey confirms what a string of national polls released this month have shown: Obama holds a slight advantage over McCain, though not a big enough one to constitute a statistical lead.

"Every standard telephone poll taken in June has shown Obama ahead of McCain, with nearly all of them showing Obama's margin somewhere between three and six points," Holland said. "In most of them, that margin is not enough to give him a lead in a statistical sense, but it appears that June has been a good month for Obama."

But the new CNN/ORC polls shows the race gets even tighter when the two most prominent third-party presidential candidates are considered. In a four way match-up that includes independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, Obama's lead over McCain dwindles to 3 percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent. (Nader registers 6 percent while Barr gets 3 percent.)

But it remains unclear just how much effect Nader and Barr will have on the election, as summertime surveys often overstate the eventual Election Day showing of third-party candidates.

"A useful rule of thumb is that third-party candidates in November get no more than half the support polls show them having in June or July," Holland said.

Meanwhile, one day after the Illinois senator sharply defended his devotion to America during a high-profile speech in the crucial swing state of Missouri, the new survey shows some voters continue to have lingering questions about his patriotism.

One quarter of all registered voters say Obama lacks patriotism, according to the poll. That breaks down to 10 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of Independents, and 40 percent of Republicans who say Obama lacks patriotism.

But it's likely the issue will not have a significant impact this fall.

"Strategically speaking, the question is not how many people consider Obama unpatriotic - it's how many people consider Obama unpatriotic who would have voted for him otherwise," Holland said "Most of the respondents who think Obama is unpatriotic are Republicans. That indicates that Obama may not have lost a lot of votes - so far - on this matter."

McCain, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war during Vietnam, is viewed as being patriotic by 90 percent of all registered voters.

The poll, conducted June 26-29, surveyed 906 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (414 Responses)
  1. Tom Leonard

    News stations plaster what the candidates think of.., say, Gas prices.
    WELL.., Obama is SO far out of touch, as he has people do every-thing for him. He can raise millions of dollars, for his campaign spending, but does he put those millions anyplace else that NEEDS the dough? ! NO! One-half the money these boneheads raise SHOULD go to causes that NEED support.., not to commercials, travel, hotels and such.
    EVERY individual running for president is very much out of touch with what the lower and middle income people struggle with everyday! I
    really don't know how the public supports any of these clowns.
    I wish the people would wake up...,

    July 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    This won't last long. We are still in the early stages. Mccain, is old and will be nodding in his rocker, reliving the past, by the time election day comes.

    July 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Mark

    McCain is losing in every single poll, by small and large amounts alike.

    Good for him for remaining 5 points behind.. *cough*

    July 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Tommy

    Sorry CNN, I ain't buying it! You are going to try to keep this thing close just like you did with the pro Hillary reporting during the Democratic primary, even after it was all over for her. Even Fix news owner Rupert Murdoch has stated that it will be Obama by a landslide and the people I know and talk to in trying to get a read on the November election believe the same.
    What sensible human being would want more of what we have had for the last 8 years?

    July 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. ron

    McCain would make an awful president, but if Obama has a few more weeks like this week, he will lose his base and the enthusiasm which has propelled him to where he is. The FISA vote was bad enough, but when he said today that he would expand the Bush "faith based" programs to allow tax dollars to be siphoned off by religious groups, who will be allowed to discriminate by religion on hires, he lost me. If he thinks he can win an election by expanding Bush's terrible ideas, I think he's dead wrong.

    July 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. Raymond Duke

    Did you expect any difference right now. The more people know about Obama and that crew the more he slips in the polls. Just think this poll is probably done without the full impact of the republican voters. This is telling you how bad Obama has divided the democrat party along with the Butt kisssin democrat leadership and you the media that helped select this guy because he sure wasn't put in by the regular democrat voters. When you screw over the regular voters choice be prepared to pay the consquencies. The same thing is happening to the situation room with Jack cafferty and that bunch. Don't be biased and slant your news to favor someone. I quite watching that show and most other cnn broadcast due to that bais and I watched you people for years thinking at least here I will get the truth without bais. Boy was I wrong.

    July 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. BB

    I just don't understand why the RACE is so close.

    McCain = higher gas and gimmicks + 100 years more in Iraq + further US isolation from the rest of the World + less than adequate health care + the rich get richer + no economic solution + and a potential president with one foot in the grave.

    Notice that I placed an emphasis on the word ‘race’. Go figure…

    July 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Jake

    This is pretty poor journalism. Not that anyone else cares, probably. Why say the change in the poll numbers was "little"? Just state the numbers, and let people draw their own conclusions.

    Just the facts, please spare us your opinion.

    July 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Reality Check

    Popular vote and electorate votes are separate issues, and this is a tough call for America. Black, young, liberal, inexperienced Obama bringing hope versus a mainstay white, old, republican, continuation of the current presidency bringing promises of comforting status-quo.

    As many people don't like both options as do, for whatever their reasons may be and whether or not you agree with why they don't or do.

    This is not going to be a landslide victory with the popular vote, and you'll have to pay a lot of attention to where the electorate victories are appearing.

    Currently Obama has a solid lead there. Besides, lots of things can happen in four months, for both sides.

    July 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. ABG

    If Obama chooses a boring VP, he will lose in Novemeber.

    An Obama -Clinton team at least starts with 36,000,000 votes!

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Jerry

    The slim lead for Obama means there are still a lot of idiots out there who think warring policies are good for the world and america and that because john mccain was tortured and imprisoned he would make a better president. That's not a credential that ways that heavily in who can be a better president. Although most presidents are pretty much tortured thru there entire presidency, so I may need to reconsider.

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Tim from Indy

    McCain is going to beat Obama like a drum.

    America doesn't need or want a tax and spend big government liberal like Obama.

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Abby

    Nobody said it would be easy. Yes We Can but it will take some seriously hard work. Its not easy changing the world.

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. James - Alpharetta GA

    Obama is a breathe of fresh air for America and his "can-do" spirit will and sensible approach to our issues will pull America out of these tough times.

    McCain is old and represents the very ideas that have brought us to where we are today; a nation in dismay and in debt.

    I am proudly voting for Obama in November!

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. gary


    July 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. sherry

    It will be the end of America as we know it if McZero wins the presidency. The terrorist will definetly come here and wreck havoc on us because we will have all our soldiers over in the middle east fighting for Mr.McWar......America do you really think hes a good choice?

    Obama 08!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. gee

    Don't forget about us Hillary supporters. I don't forget. I guess I'm just bitter.

    July 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Matthew

    Its funny how you do not report the previous Newsweek and LA Times polls that show Obama with 15 and 12 pt leads, corporate media wants this to be a close race and will do whatever it takes to make it appear so.

    July 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. jrros@msn.com

    I am the middle of the middle for america. When I observe Obama not cover his heart during the pledge of aligence, I have an issue with his patriotism. He doesn't get my vote. JR, Florida

    July 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Louisiana Ed

    Suck it up Republicans...your ENTIRE PARTY is about to crash and burn in November!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. asas

    it will go up dont worry obama will win.

    July 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. orlando diggs


    July 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Ian M

    I'm not worried. No one's even paying attention yet. Let's wait for the Conventions and debates.

    July 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Chale

    The beginning of the slide. Obama's the weakest candidate we could have nominated. But that's alright, McCain will probably be more willing to bargain with Congress than Obama would (since he's already showing his propensity to make then jump through his hoops), and we'll get another shot in four years...

    July 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. Colin

    Not good for Obama, especially when you take into account the difference between registered voters and likely voters. That's always an advantage to republicans.

    July 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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